If you're able to get your hands on this DVD, waste no time. Casshern has not yet been released in the U.S. with an English-dubbed audio track, which would be criminal if it were. Listening to the original cast deliver their performances, with subtitles, makes the experience even richer.
In a world with an alternate history, a great war finally comes to an end leaving the earth diseased and polluted. The geneticist Dr. Azuma vies for support from the government for his neo-cell treatment that he claims can rejuvenate the body and regenerate humankind. The government leaders, guarding their own deeply entrenched powers, turn down the professor. Driven to complete his work, Dr. Azuma accepts a secret offer from a sinister faction of the powerful military. After an incident occurs in Dr. Azuma's lab, a race of mutant humans known as the Shinzo Ningen are unleashed upon the world. Now only the warrior known as Casshern, reincarnated with an invincible body, stands between the Shinzo Ningen and a world on the brink of annihilation.
Casshern could not be further from the standard Hollywood cookie-cutter nonsense, so often void of substance and passion. I went looking for a visually-stunning action flick, and got so much more. Kazuaki Kiriya's film struck emotional chords I would never have predicted. This film is nothing short of spectacular.
The message delivered at the end is especially poignant as the U.S. enters another year in the endless "war on terror". This film forces the viewer to answer some difficult questions. It is challenging, thought-provoking, and stimulating. It exceeds expectations, and easily surpasses most of our domestic productions.
If Casshern were nothing more than a visually-stunning work, that alone would leave a significant mark. The colors, the animation, the backgrounds, the mixture of live-action with CG, etc., all come together quite well. The effects are excellent. The action sequences are fantastic. The soundtrack is top-notch, if a bit repetitious. The performances and the underlying message are where this really delivers, brilliantly.
Two hours and 21 minutes. No MPAA rating. Spectacular trailer. And one of the most powerful messages I've seen in a long time.
Everyone responds differently to this film, so a grade would not do it justice. Any person who appreciates a good film could purchase this, sight unseen, without regret. Far more than a foreign film, or Japanimation hitting the silver screen, this work cannot be easily described. It should be experienced.
If you're able to get your hands on this DVD, waste no time.
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